North Texas Daily

Strunk finds success in second year with softball

Strunk finds success in second year with softball

Strunk finds success in second year with softball
March 24
00:50 2015

Saad Yousef / Staff Writer

Since the arrival of head coach Tracey Kee last year, the softball team has turned a corner. Though Kee has a lot to do with that, the team also has leaders who perform on the field, such as senior outfielder Kat Strunk.

Strunk started and played in all 53 games last season and hasn’t missed a beat this year, starting and playing in all 28 games thus far.

She found her love for softball at the age of eight, when she joined a city league team in Cedar Hill. From that point on, softball was no longer just a game, but a significant part of her life, often playing the role of stress-reliever.

“I love doing it,” Strunk said. “It’s fun. Whenever I’m having a crappy day, I can just come out here and be around my friends and do something I love.”

While attending South Grand Prairie High School, Strunk played on the varsity softball team all four years and was a two-time second-team all-state outfielder. During her junior year, she was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year in her district. The next year she was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year and honorable mention all-area.

Her versatility caught the attention North Central Texas College head coach Van Hedrick, who offered Strunk a scholarship to play.

“Coming out of high school, I was basically looking for a place I could get a scholarship and some place that I could fit in,” Strunk said. “Coach Hedrick was very welcoming so I chose to go there.”

During a two-year stint at NCTC, Strunk set single-season records in at-bats, hits, doubles and batting average. After a successful stop at NCTC, she made the decision to come to the University of North Texas. For her, it was a no-brainer.

“My only option after NCTC was UNT,” Strunk said. “I was an interior design major, so I had been wanting to come here since I was in high school for that program and obviously to play softball.”

Since coming to UNT, Strunk switched her major to integrated studies and says she plans getting into something along the lines of sports marketing or management.

“I plan to do an internship this summer with the athletic department here at UNT and then go from there,” Strunk said.

On the field, Strunk has garnered plenty of attention from those around her, including Kee.

“I think personally she’s one of the best center fielders that any program could ask for,” Kee said. “She tracks balls unbelievably and I think she’s done a good job offensively and defensively. I’ve been pleased in regards to Kat.”

One thing that stood out to Kee most about her center fielder was her leadership and ability to comprehend information.

“I felt like when I got in here and she got in here, there was a lot of teaching going on and I feel like she was really trying to grasp the system I was trying to lay down in regards to what we needed to do defensively, what our expectations were,” Kee said. “She’s been a great field general and she’s a good leader on the field.”

Senior pitcher Madison Thompson backed Kee’s praise of Strunk’s leadership and said she makes life easier as a pitcher.

“I love having a center fielder that can run down and catch my balls,” Thompson said. “She’s probably one of the best center fielders I’ve ever had.”

With Thompson and Strunk both being seniors, Thompson said they often lean on each other to find different ways to lead the team and maintain the right focus. Thompson said they make sure they are proper guides for the younger players.

Thompson and Strunk have good chemistry on the field, and off the field is not much different. They are both members at the Village Church and enjoy each other’s company away from softball.

“We spend a lot of time outside, off the field,” Thompson said. “We have a lot of hobbies we both enjoy to do.”

Aside from her accolades on the diamond, Thompson said Strunk is just as great away from it.

“She’s very fun. She’s very bubbly, always has good positive energy. She’s just fun to be around,” Thompson said. “She’s just a very great, positive person.”

Featured Image: Senior outfielder Kat Strunk runs to first base after lining the ball through the Southern Mississippi University infield. Strunk also smashed one over the fence in the 4-2 win on Mar. 15. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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